Dissident voices

The war on terror often overshadows the war within Islam. But as recent surveys and profiles of three Islamic reformers show, some Muslims are as troubled over jihadi-based violence as Westerners who want to end it | Priya Abraham

In the first comprehensive survey of local Muslim attitudes, the Pew Research Center interviewed almost 60,000 respondents between January and April to find out what America's estimated 2.3 million Muslims believe. The results, released last month, came at a good time: Four ethnic Albanians, a Jordanian, and a Turk—six American Muslims—who lived in the Philadelphia area for years delivering pizza, roofing, driving a cab, and making bakery bread, all in their 20s, were caught last month plotting to slaughter U.S. soldiers at Fort Dix.

Such incidents of homegrown terrorism—from apparently Americanized immigrants—serve as shadowy reminders about radicalism within U.S. borders. The survey results identified a trend toward radicalism, particularly among young Muslims, while at the same time showing encouraging signs among American Muslims, about 65 percent of whom are foreign-born, largely from the Middle East.